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From latte lovers to cold brew connoisseurs to espresso experts, countless people around the world love that sweet, sweet bean juice. For many of us, drinking coffee is a means to an end: the thing that gives us the energy required to face the drudgery of life in a late stage capitalist society. For others, however, coffee is more of an art form. And this art form doesn’t begin at preparation, oh no - this art form begins at the beans.
Coffee varies widely depending on the kind of bean you use, but did you know it also depends on the type of roasting used to roast the beans? That’s right. Aside from the French roast, Italian roast and Vienna roast methods that you might have heard of, there is another set of classifications: light roast, medium roast, and dark roast beans. Each with a different taste, different benefits, and different brewing methods. You can find a basic rundown of the differences in this useful Coffee Gator article!
Today we’re going to dive deep into the wild world of light roast coffee beans, so buckle up, because I’m about to blow your mind with bean facts.
The process of roasting coffee is essentially just turning the coffee beans from green to brown. As you might have guessed, the easiest way to differentiate these kinds of roasts is by color! So, what does light roast coffee mean then exactly? Well, it refers to the roasting style that creates light brown coffee beans with a smooth, matte finish. The purpose of roasting coffee this way is to retain some of the characteristics of the original coffee bean, giving it a bold body, an intense acidity, and an overall fruity flavor.
Surprisingly, light roasted coffee is a relatively new thing! Up until recently, most coffee was roasted to be dark to get a more ‘coffee-like’ taste. But more often than not, roasting coffee to be too dark just makes it burnt. Luckily for us, coffee technology has improved considerably and we now have discovered a new world of flavor. Now that we’ve gone through the basics, let’s get some questions answered!
Light coffee roasts differ greatly from almost every other kind, and here’s why:
No. The caffeine difference between roasts is more often than not insignificant! The caffeine in light roast coffee is about the same as other types. How much caffeine is in light roast coffee exactly depends on how you prepare it: cold brew light coffee contains the most (200mg or higher), while light roast espresso has the least (at around 45-70mg per shot).
Yes - generally. The way light roast coffee beans are prepared generally gives them less of a bitter taste, but this also depends on the way the coffee is prepared. Time, temperature, and quality of the beans, along with coffee-to-water ratio, are the biggest factors that determine whether or not the flavor is bitter. In short, your cup of joe from any old diner will probably be more bitter than the expensive latte at that new café down the street.
Yes. Blonde roasts (also known as Light City or Half City roasts) are just light roasted coffee beans and are equally delightful! As a wise blog writer who definitely is not me once said, “A light coffee bean by any other name smells just as good”.
I’ll start this by saying that light roast coffee caffeine content is fairly high, and caffeine in high doses isn’t always the best thing for our body. That being said, light coffee beans actually have a lot of health benefits! So I’ll start by asking what’s on everyone’s mind: Is Light Roast Coffee Healthier than Medium or Dark Roasts?
Yes! Here’s how:
Intestinal Health: A study from the Journal of Medicinal Food showed that light roasts offer more antioxidants than dark roasts, and contain higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid - these help protect us against human cell damage and inflammation! It’s important to note that this study was done solely with Arabica beans - beans from Sumatra, Guatemala, and Colombia may have a different outcome).
Skin Health: This doesn’t just apply to light roast beans, but did you know that coffee grounds are good for your skin, and can help with dark circles under the eyes? That’s right baby! Coffee is truly a wonder of nature! Use the coffee grounds for under eye bags or dark circles by rubbing it in under the eyes. The grounds may help lower the fluid buildup under your eyes, making them appear smaller!
While this obviously varies based on individual preference, it is generally agreed upon that the best light roast coffee brewing method is the pour-over/drip method. This creates a clean, rich, and light-bodied taste that works best with light coffee beans. However, if you don’t want to use this method or don’t have the accessories required, no worries - light roast coffee is delicious in all of its forms! If you’re curious, however, feel free to check out our collection of amazing coffee equipment!
Light roast beans are not picky, and can be enjoyed no matter what temperature you choose! My personal favorite way to brew this type of coffee is hot, in an espresso. It’s super smooth, easy to make, and has amazing floral notes. If you want something a little cooler, cold brew is always a great choice with light roast beans. It can be brewed to be double strength, enjoyed with ice, or mixed with cream and sugar for the ultimate smooth experience!
Now that you know just how complex coffee beans can be, I’m sure you’re overwhelmed by the idea of selecting the best light coffee beans. I know I would be. But, I have the answer: the best place to start is right here! Our light coffee beans are a perfect foundation for starters or seasoned coffee pros. These beans are air-roasted to create a smooth flavor that won’t make you pucker up with bitterness or sourness. Air-roasting allows the skin of the bean, the most flavorful part, to stay on and keep its oil - leaving you with a floral and full-bodied brew.
There you have it. You’ve gone from beginning brewster to a full-blown beanologist in just one article. I hope this helps you find the grinds of your dreams.
Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor
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